Planning for Closure
KCGM’s Sustainability and External Relations Department oversees the mine closure process, which involves extensive planning and consultation. Mining companies must provide a nominal date for mine closure to ensure that adequate planning is undertaken by the operation, government and community to minimise potential impacts.
Life of Mine plans can change at any point and closure dates provided are a guide based on current economic factors such as mining and milling rates, gold price, labour, equipment and consumable costs.
In February 2014 KCGM announced its Life of Mine Plan which sees mining in the Fimiston Open Pit scheduled to end in 2019 with processing of low grade stockpiles to continue to 2029.
Planning for the end of KCGM operations on the Golden Mile covers the design, rehabilitation and monitoring and the progressive closure of the Fimiston Open Pit, the Fimiston and Gidji Processing Plants and the Mt Charlotte Underground Mine infrastructure.
Closure Planning is an integral part of the life of a mine. KCGM is committed to an open approach when providing information to stakeholders about its operations and their impacts and has undertaken extensive consultation and planning to develop the publicly available KCGM Mine Closure Plan.
The closure planning process is ongoing with KCGM required to submit the site’s closure plan to government agencies every three years for approval. Mine safety regulations dictate how the site is managed after closure and appropriate measures to minimise the risk of inadvertent access by the public.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder has been a mining community since 1893 and its residents are realists. The community is aware that gold is a limited resource and all mines have a finite lifespan. When the Fimiston Open Pit was first started, its projected operating life was just 14 years, which would have meant a 2003 closure date.
Since 1989, changing gold prices, improved technologies and greater operating efficiencies have allowed the projected life to be successively extended by a further 26 years. This has had a direct and positive impact on the economy of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the broader Goldfields Region.
While KCGM continues to examine potential ways to extend the life of the mine, one day all mining on the Golden Mile will inevitably come to an end. In the meantime, KCGM’s Exploration Geology team continues the search for new mining prospects and Engineers probe all possibilities to extend the duration of the operation.
By the time its projected closure date of 2029 has been reached, KCGM will have been a vital part of the Goldfields for 40 years. With an iconic landmark in the Super Pit, its rehabilitated landscapes a living inheritance and its historic status as the largest mining company ever to operate on the Golden Mile, the legacy of Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines will live on long after its has left the Goldfields.